My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Arches at Dawn

I got to Arches National Park too late to actually visit it the first afternoon because finding a campsite was a priority. I did get one on BLM lands only about 10 miles away.

So I was ready early the next morning to visit Arches.  I left my camp before first light and went to Moab and ate breakfast at Denny's.  Then I turned around and did the short drive to Arches. There was no one to check my senior pass, so I just started on the auto tour, just as the sky lightened. I turned on the Moab NPR and found there was a Native American music show on.  The music consisted of chanting and flute playing, and was a beautiful counterpart to the scenery.

Here is my very primitive attempt to recreate that experience for you.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Devil's Garden Hike in Arches National Park

I had a great time in Arches National Park, starting at dawn.  Want to share more of that wonderful experience, but that requires more time, energy and technological know-how than I have tonight. (Just back from a long weekend at Caddo Lake State Park where I enjoyed paddling and partying with several friends before following Natalie home to Galveston, Texas.)

The second thing I did while in Arches was to hike some of the Devil's Garden Trail. The last time I was in Arches, I got there about 4:00 P. M. on a summer evening and bought a twenty-five cent map of Devil's Garden.  I determined I would hike to Landscape Arch.  Then I hiked to several other places on the way to the back of the park, where Devil's Garden is located.  When I finally started my hike, it was after sunset.  I rushed to climb to Landscape Arch, scrambling up steps that were at the end of the trail leading to the arch.  I got there just in time to see the last of the light through the arch. Then I had to carefully work my way down those stairs - they did have a handrail  - in the dark.  But I was rewarded with stars forming a complete bowl over and around me - and since I was the only fool still out, I felt like I owned the place.

Big changes have occurred since then. In September 1, 1991, hikers near the arch thought they had heard thunder, then small rocks started tumbling down the hill. Then a 60 foot slab of rock fell out from the top of the arch, leaving a very thin arch. The park has closed the trail so you can not even get close to the arch.

At the trailhead

Formations near the start of the trail 

Flowers on a shrub - can't remember its name

Landscape Arch

More formations

Halloween figure?

Partition Arch

Closer view of Partition Arch
I didn't walk far - just a little over a mile, before I got to a huge slickrock hill.  I was afraid to come back down it and didn't want to walk over 7 miles to complete the trail. So I saved the back of the garden for another visit.

End of the trail for this hiker
I enjoyed the Visitor Center, then went back to enjoy the end of the day in the park. I hadn't had time to come here the last time I was in Utah, although I did get to visit Bryce NP (and this blog also), Zion NP,  and The Petrified Forest. The best advice I can give you about visiting Utah is to try and have a lot of time  to spend there, because it is SOO hard to leave. I think the state has the most numerous scenic places of any of the lower fifty. I will have to spend an entire summer there one day.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Campout at Echo Park

Cindy took me on a long drive to see the wild horses on BLM lands, then to Echo Park where we spent the night.  Cindy wanted to get a picture of Steamboat Rock illuminated by moonlight and with stars in the background.

We did find a few of the wild horses, three close to the road but most of them were far away.  I hiked about a quarter mile to the to the herd, to get a few decent pictures. We also saw a flock of shovelers and several prairie dogs.

We spent a long day chasing the horses, and barely got to Echo Park in time to get my tent up before it got dark.  Then I heated soup for our supper and  went down to the Green River with Cindy to watch her set up her camera and get the first pictures of the night sky behind Steamboat Rock.  But I was tired and getting colder and colder so left her to it and went to bed. After dropping me off at our camp, she drove back to the boat launch spot and slept in her car, getting up several times to check the moonlight on the giant rock formation.

Green River going by Steamboat Rock - taken the next morning
The view behind our camp

We met again for breakfast after I packed up my camp.  Then we started on a long (time-wise) and very beautiful hike.  We walked down the Green River  to the confluence of the Yampa with the Green River, then turned and walked a short ways along the Yampa River. But soon the path started going up the cliff face and Cindy thought we should turn around. It took a long time for the gorge to get sunlight so we found new pictures every few minutes, as more and more of it came into good light.  The hike back let us take more pictures of the formerly shaded side of the canyon.

Cindy first said she needed to be home around noon so she would have some time to pack for her upcoming move to California.  Then she said that was just a suggested time.  We finally stopped for lunch after 1:00 P. M. and started home soon after that, pausing only to find the petroglyphs  behind campsite 10.

Cindy ready to capture anything - frost was on the shaded grass

The closest we came to the mountain lion we wanted to see - this is probably bobcat prints

The confluence of the Yampa and Green Rivers

Someone had collected beautiful stones and built this

Cindy took this beautiful picture of a cottonwood with me in it- down to only one jacket

The cliffs along Yampa River

I loved this assembly done by nature - the bluegreen of the lichen was a
great counterpoint to the leaves. 

A beatutiful little moss growing along the Yampa River

My side of the Yampa and the reflection from the other side - the beautiful orange plant is the dreaded tamarisk or salt cedar - the Monument is managing them with a tamarisk beetle

Two of the three petroglyphs at Site 10

We made a couple of stops on the twelve mile road back to Harper's Corner road for more pictures, including another petroglyth site. 

This was in another area of petroglyphs on the way out of Echo Park 

This  formation is called Picasso

We also had to stop at Chew Ranch for more pictures.  The Chews sold part of their ranch to Dinosaur NM, but lived on in their ranch house until 1970.  They raised both cattle and sheep.  The most interesting of the artifacts there was a sheepherder's house wagon. (Wonder if mules would be cheaper to keep than a truck?)

The Sheepherder's house wagon - think cooking went on on the outside

The bed was on the high part in back with storage in the drawers.
There seemed to be a seating bench to the left. 

Almost the last of the wildflowers with a fly pollinating them at the Chew Ranch house

When this comes out,  I'll be in Arches National Park.   I'll probably go to Moab a few times to get on line.